February 6th, 2019 by James Goudie KC

Kannan v Newham LBC (2019) EWCA Civ 57 is a case of unintentional homelessness and priority need where the “full housing duty” applies, under Section 193 of the Housing Act 1996, and is dischargeable in accordance with Section 206, the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) Order 2012, and Guidance. The issue was whether accommodation provided by the Council for Mr Kannan was “suitable”.Lewison LJ (with whom Moylan LJ agreed) observed that:-

(1)       A housing authority has different duties: to provide interim accommodation pending a decision, and to provide accommodation in fulfilment of the “full housing duty”;

(2)       The mere passage of time may turn accommodation that was suitable, for the short term, into accommodation that is no longer “suitable”;

(3)       In considering whether accommodation is, or remains, “suitable”, an authority must consider not only the length of time for which the applicant has been there, but also the time for which he is expected to stay;

(4)       In considering whether or not accommodation is “suitable”, the reviewing officer is entitled to have regard to the realities, given practical constraints;

(5)       In the case of applicants with a protected characteristic, such as disability, the PSED is engaged, at all stages in the decision-making process.

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